Microbial activation of gut Dendritic cells and the control of mucosal immunity

Jennifer L. Owen, Mansour Mohamadzadeh

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

29 Scopus citations


Current data support a role for gut colonization in maintaining balanced mucosal and systemic immune responses and have suggested aberrant innate immune recognition of enteric bacteria as an initiator of the adaptive immune damage associated with inflammatory bowel disease (Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis). In fact, data from human studies and experimental mouse models have implicated transformation of the gut microbiota from a beneficial symbiotic state to one of imbalance or "dysbiosis" in the pathogenesis of several autoinflammatory diseases, including allergic skin and respiratory disorders, rheumatoid arthritis, type I diabetes, and colorectal cancer. The host has evolved to co-exist and maintain a mutualistic relationship with the commensal microbes of the gut, and it is the function of the host innate immune system to initiate and maintain this homeostasis, while retaining the ability to respond appropriately to pathogenic organisms. In this review, we discuss the molecular and cellular interactions of the mucosal immune system that decide this delicate balance of mutualism. Furthermore, we will highlight the role of dendritic cells in preserving this precarious balance and how gene products of commensal microbes may play an integral role in re-establishing this balance once it has gone awry.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)619-631
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Interferon and Cytokine Research
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 1 2013
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Virology
  • Cell Biology
  • Immunology


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